Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on this inspirational small-group adventure through the enchanted islands of the Galapagos. Splash with penguins and fur sea lions, walk among giant tortoises, flamingos and iguanas, and spot blue-footed boobies and endemic wildlife found nowhere else on earth — all under the guidance of your MT Sobek naturalist guide. Hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking offer you astonishing opportunities to get close to the wildlife underwater and on land. After each action-filled day, return to the luxury of your private yacht to rest and re-energize. This classic route takes in the natural wonders of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago, and Rábida. See below for a sample itinerary of your day-to-day activities. Please note that actual itinerary routes vary from departure to departure — for more information about the islands each departure will visit, call for details.
Welcome to the historic city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. An MT Sobek representative will meet you outside customs at the airport and escort you to your hotel. After settling in at the hotel, the rest of the day is free unwind, take advantage of the pool's spa services or begin your exploration of this dynamic city. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before setting out on half-day guided tour of colonial Quito. The city's UNESCO-listed old town contains the best examples of Colonial Baroque architecture in South America! After lunch, you are free to explore more of the old town, return to the hotel, or shop for handicrafts made by local artisans.
Gather in the hotel at 6:30pm for a briefing with your fellow travelers and MT Sobek representative, who will discuss tomorrow's flight to the Galapagos Islands and the adventure ahead. Dinner is on your own tonight.
Rise for breakfast and an early transfer flight from Quito to Baltra Island in the Galapagos. After meeting your naturalist guide, take a short transfer from Baltra to Santa Cruz Island. Here a private vehicle awaits to take you to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz for a special opportunity to see giant tortoises in their wild and natural habitat. Next, transfer to Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement in the Galapagos. Stroll the main street to the harbor, where you will board the yacht and your basecamp for activities during the next week. Enjoy a welcome dinner.
From your anchorage on the southern end of Isabela Island, board a Zodiac (small, motorized inflatable boats) to explore Tintoreras - a group of islets. Follow a trail to observe marine iguanas, sea lions, and marine birds diving for fish. Return to the yacht and cruise to the western side of Isabela Island. Enjoy views of the island's pristine coastline, and keep lookout for dolphins and whales. After lunch, anchor at Punta Moreno for a walk across a pahoehoe lava flow, surrounded by giant shield volcanoes and a series of green lagoons - abundant with wildlife, including flamingos, blue-footed boobies, Darwin's finches, and flightless cormorants. If time allows, take your first snorkel this afternoon. Return to the boat for cocktail hour and dinner.
Start the day at Elizabeth Bay, where you will set off by Zodiac to explore tranquil coves and a red mangrove lagoon, home to green sea turtles, flightless cormorants, and Galapagos penguins! Get in the water for a snorkel and you may also spot rays and small sharks among tropical fish. After lunch, continue to Urbina Bay - famous for having uplifted 15 feet along 2 miles of coastline exposing corals and invertebrates in its strata. Follow your guide on the trail to look for Galapagos land iguanas, Galapagos hawks, finches, and giant tortoises (mostly seen between January and June.)
Awake at your anchorage near Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island - said to be the largest ecologically pristine island in the world and one of the highlights of the trip. Upon landing, take a walk on black lava fields in search of marine iguanas, colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs and Galapagos sea lions lounging in its lagoons. In the afternoon, disembark for an unforgettable Zodiac cruise (with optional snorkeling) along the dramatic cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca, the remnants of an ancient volcanic caldera. Ride ocean swells beneath the cliffs in search of nesting boobies and explore a huge marine cave.
After breakfast make a wet landing on the dark, sandy volcanic beach of Puerto Egas. The trail follows the rocky coastline, where tide pools are home to sponges, hermit crabs, and fish including the world's only four-eyed blenny. Sea lions bask on the rocks, along with marine iguanas and shore birds. At the end of the trail, we'll visit the grottos for a chance to see a colony of Galapagos fur seals up close. After lunch, visit the "small red volcanic" island of Rabida near the center of the archipelago. Its red-sand beach is home to sea lions and pups. Behind the beach is a brackish lagoon, home to migratory shorebirds, wading birds, and ducks. Two species of boobies nest along the cliffs. Snorkel with Galapagos penguins along the cliff face or swim with sea lion pups - another highlight of the trip!
Enjoy one more early morning excursion by zodiac to see a variety of bird and small shark species in a protected mangrove lagoon. After breakfast aboard the yacht, disembark and transfer to the Baltra airport for the return flight to Quito. An MT Sobek representative will greet you at Quito airport and provide assistance to your nearby hotel.
Use the complimentary airport shuttle to transfer to the airport in time for your outbound flight, or opt to stay on in Quito to join us for one of our extensions in Ecuador or Peru!
MT Sobek Regional Specialist
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MT Sobek was one of the first North American companies to bring visitors to the Galápagos Islands, with an inaugural charter for the Sierra Club in 1970.
Guests love our Galápagos adventures because we charter a small catamaran for a fully MT Sobek-operated experience with our own expert team of naturalist guides.
Our guides and crew work hard maximizing the amount of wildlife encounters both on land and sea, and guides will always be snorkeling with you.
Island cruising by deluxe yacht with daily Zodiac excursions to explore hidden coves. Hike, snorkel, swim among unique endemic wildlife.
Luxurious comfort aboard a sleek and modern catamaran with a full crew to cater to your every need. Also includes an upscale hotel in Quito.
Mild climate year-round. Dec-May has daytime temperatures 76-86°F and water temperatures of 70-75°F. Jun-Nov has daytime temperatures of 67-77°F and water temperatures of 65-72°F.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
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